Sha Cage stars in ‘Agnes Under the Big Top’

Sha Cage starring in ‘Agnes Under the Big Top, a tall tale’
A National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere
written & directed by Aditi Brennan Kapil
featuring Virginia Burke, Nick Demeris, Ankit Dogra,
Nathaniel Fuller and Linda Kelsey

Mixed Blood Theatre
February 18 – March 6, 2011
Wednesdays – Saturdays, 7:30 p.m.
Sundays at 3:00 p.m.

You will want to see this funny and powerful new work! It’s the story of immigrants in America today, and how their lives intersect under the figurative Big Top. A city subway station is the central point for all the action. A Liberian home care worker, an itinerant busker, a Bulgarian ringmaster and his wife, along with an Indian call center escapee, discover and redefine themselves through the telling of this magical fable. For more information, you can link to Mixed Blood Theatre.

e.g. bailey + Sha Cage produce Liberian radio documentary

New Beginnings: The Story of  Liberians in Minnesota

For some time now, Minnesota has been a refuge for immigrant communities displaced from their homes due to a variety of circumstances. One of these communities is the Liberian community, which grew rapidly in the aftermath of a series of civil wars that ravished their country. However the story of Liberians in Minnesota does not begin with these civil wars but stretches back more than 50 years.

In this radio documentary, we look at this history, along with the growth and development of the community. In a series of conversations with a wide-range of Liberians in Minnesota including Wynfred Russell, Abdullai Kiatamba, Piso Tarr, Yeamah Brewer, Mameneh George, Charles Dennis and others, in addition to other prominent figures in the community including State Representative Keith Ellison, professor of history Peter Rachleff and theatre director Wendy Knox, this programs provides an overview of where the Liberian community in Minnesota stands today, the contributions it has made to the state and what the future holds.

The documentary is produced by Liberian-American artist e.g. bailey, and his partner Sha Cage. The three-part documentary will air on KFAI Fresh Air Radio (90.3fm Minneapolis/106.7fm St. Paul) on February 16th, 21st and 23rd at 7:30pm. It can also be streamed online at wwww.kfai.org.

Ruts Revival

RUTS REVIVAL

featuring GUANTE + BIG CATS!, SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE, SHA CAGE, TRUTHMAZE, E.G. BAILEY, CHANTZ EROLIN, QUILOMBOLAS + others

with special guests I SELF DEVINE (Rhymesayers), ANALYRICAL (Background Noise Crew), SKETCH TC, DJ STAGE ONE, 2013 (featuring members of Junkyard Empire) + others

The Tru Ruts crew has been putting in work, both on stage and behind the scenes, for a very long time. A record label, a theater production company, a film studio and a Twin Cities cultural institution, Tru Ruts is dedicated to supporting talented, forward-thinking artists, putting on events that go beyond the same ‘ol, same ‘ol, and nurturing the next generation of young writers and performers. Join us in celebrating some big steps made over this past year: national distribution, slam championships, high-profile performances, critically-acclaimed album releases, successful youth programs and much more. And THANKS for all the support!

May 1st • Fine Line Music Cafe
318 North 1st Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55401
http://www.finelinemusic.com

8:00pm doors • $5 (21+) • $8 (18+)

Freestyle Theatre presents Experiments in Hip Hop Theatre

EXPERIMENTS IN HIP HOP THEATER
+ ANNUAL URBAN GRIOTS Spoken Word GATHERING
WED. APRIL 21st, 2010

Tru Ruts/Free Style Theater is excited to showcase an evening of 10 Minute Hip Hop & Spoken Word theater spotlights.  This effort is a precursor to a larger festival the company is organizing in Fall 2010 under the curation of  E.G. Bailey and Sha Cage. Tru Ruts is known locally, and nationally, as a cross genre producer whose mission is to bring innovative artistic endeavors to fruition that honor and celebrate culture and tradition.  Bailey and Cage move effortless as spoken word performers, actors, directors, community organizers and educators. The two had been in conversation with the national Hip Hop Theater Festival (NY) and the  Walker Art Center about the viability of a festival of this nature and have since moved to nurture Twin Cities based works and artists. Participating artists range from newcomers to heavy hitters including: Hip Hip lead artist of the BLEND, Toussaint Morrison;  Slam Champion, Guante; Writer and Director, Anton Jones; Playwright and Poet, Ed Bok Lee; and selections by Cage and E.G. Bailey featuring Amiri Baraka’s work along with Spoken Word luminary J. Otis Powell!, dancer Aneka McMullen, musicians Kevin Washington, Chris Cox (Junkyard Empire/2013), and Josh Granowski.  The community is invited to witness this provocative (experimental) evening spotlighting selections from each artist followed by a short dialogue about this developing art form.

Tickets can be purchased at http://www.bedlamtheatre.org. The Theater show is at 7:30pm and is followed by the big annual URBAN GRIOTS gathering bringing the spoken word community together in music, dance, and community at 9pm. Tickets for both shows are $15 or $3 for Urban Griots. Music by DJ Steely (Kinda Cloudy). For more information call Bedlam at 612-341-1038.

“This evening will be a great snapshot that allows the larger Twin Cities community to see what an incredibly diverse urban theater community is burgeoning right here under our heels. In recognition of the absence of artistic access for developing actors and directors involved…we hope to help nurture this ‘locally grown’ voice and talent for the next few years and ultimately produce a larger Midwest festival that brings artists together to cross pollinate. There are already so many talented artists on the precipice of the form. We are excited to have Bedlam on board as a Partner.” e.g. bailey & Sha Cage

Spoken-word work gets right to the point

CD review: Spoken-word work
gets right to the point

By John Ziegler, Duluth News Tribune

He can come on like a freight train. Words are his medium. He will make you laugh. He will make you cry. He will make you think.

His name is E.G. Bailey and his brand-new release “American Afrikan” combines spoken word, poetry and music to explore what it is to be an Afrikan in America today. It doesn’t just skim along the surface in that exploration, it heaves from below like a bulldozer churning up slabs of concrete, tree roots and old asphalt in its quest — Bailey leading the narrative charge.

Using language like John Coltrane used the tenor or soprano saxophone, Bailey — together with friends such as Aimee Bryant, Katrah Quey, Sha Cage, Hipgrosis, D.J.Limbs, plus African poets Ibe Kaba and Sankaradjeki; Dubai jazz ensemble Abstract Collision, and Mankwe Mdosi, the singer from Atmosphere — uses bits of pre-recorded sound, field recordings (including Liberian work songs from the Mano Tribe) and jazz. He rails, he whispers, he implores, he exhorts and subtly weaves his spell.

“K Street Blues: The Bailout Plan” sounds like it could have been Sonny Rollins captured on the Williamsburg Bridge in 1952 talking to the skyline with his horn.

“America” is Bailey (with Abstract Collision giving an eerie, angular backdrop) holding a mirror up to our own country with all its actions and how they have morphed over time. “America with your varicose veins and Catholic guilt, I fear you and I love you … America, it’s getting harder to defend you.”

Aimee Bryant’s stirring multi-tracked version of “Motherless Child” is a riveting take on this black spiritual.

“Afrikan is the New American” has an almost Prince-like groove smothered in chicken grease.

Bailey is the real deal. He has created spoken word dynamics in film, theater and recordings during his travels through this country as well as England, South Africa, France and Serbia. He is the founder of the MN Spoken Word Association, Tru Ruts Endeavors and the Spoken Word and Hip Hop Institute at the University of Minnesota. He’s been inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in the New York Modern Museum of Art.

“American Afrikan” is not just a journey but an adventure that, during February’s Black History Month, explores identity, history, culture and what it means to be black in America today.

The CD release of this wonderful piece of art takes place Saturday evening at the Bedlam Theatre in Minneapolis and should not be missed.

E.G. Bailey / “American Afrikan”
Genre: Spoken word/Poetry/Jazz/Hip Hop/Electronica
Label: Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records
Web site: http://www.egbailey.com, myspace.com/egbailey
Produced by: E.G. Bailey and Ben Durant

Upcoming show: Saturday at 9:30 p.m., the CD release party at the Bedlam Theatre, Minneapolis. Cost $5. Ages 18 and older. Includes special guests Guante, Sha Cage, Mankwe Ndosi, Ibe Kaba and more.

John Ziegler has worked in the music industry for the past 35 years as a radio host, interviewer, record producer and professional musician.

E.G. Bailey featured in Star Tribune

Bailey comes home
By Chris Riemenschneider
Star Tribune

Spoken-word artist and Tru Ruts label proprietor E.G. Bailey might have what you’re looking for in the form of his first full-length CD, “American Afrikan”.

Looking to celebrate Black History Month to the tune of something besides “We Shall Overcome?” Spoken-word artist and Tru Ruts label proprietor E.G. Bailey might have what you’re looking for in the form of his first full-length CD, “American Afrikan,” a thought-provoking collection that also provokes some cool grooves out of Bailey’s flowing poetry.

Inspired by Bailey’s trips to Africa, the disc laces field recordings and traditional African verses with modern digital beats and live drums. In “Liberia,” for instance, he expounds on a “nation waiting to be reborn” over the rhythmic clanging of hammers from field workers. In the title track, he trades verses with African poets over a steady treadmill-like beat and soulful backup vocals by Atmosphere touring member Mankwe Ndosi. Themes of identity, reclamation and rebirth permeate the album and should make for an equally evocative stage show. The release party is Saturday at the West Bank’s Bedlam Theatre with guests Guante, Sha Cage and more (9:30 p.m., $5).

Originally posted on Star Tribune on 18 February 2010.

E.G. Bailey featured on TC Metromix

‘American Afrikan’ E.G. Bailey CD Release

‘American Afrikan’ is not just a CD release party, but also a musical celebration of Black History that brings together some of the leading African and African American performers in the Twin Cities. Spoken Word innovator E.G. Bailey’s CD is a musical exploration of language and blows out of the water traditional concepts of old school ‘spoken word’ featuring M.anifest, Truthmaze, Members of Junkyard Empire, Sha Cage, Guante, Mankwe Ndosi, J. Otis Powell!, Chantz, See More Perspective, Dameun Strange, Andy Shafer, and more.

When: February 20 : 10 p.m.
Price: $5
Event Phone Number: 612-341-1038
http://www.bedlamtheatre.org

Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records presents E.G. Bailey’s AMERICAN AFRIKAN

Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records presents AMERICAN AFRIKAN
e.g. bailey’s debut mixes poetry, jazz, electronica, hip hop + more.

“He makes language live!” – Amiri Baraka

“There is so much history, culture, and experience packed into American Afrikan that to summarize would be to attempt to summarize all of African American experience.” – Jon Behm (Reviler)

“A powerful testament of bailey’s skill of mobilizing poetry for contemplation, remembrance, and a subtle, but no less insistent, call to action.” –Justin Schell

“No matter how long it takes for bailey to drop ‘da proverbial bomb’, it will have been well worth the wait.” – Dwight Hobbes

With co-signs from Umar Bin Hassan of the Last Poets and the legendary Amiri Baraka, Twin Cities spoken word artist, poet, musician, organizer and educator, e.g. bailey, presents his first full-length album, AMERICAN AFRIKAN, a spoken word concept album that begins in Africa, crosses the Middle Passage, explores America and ends up somewhere that defies easy definition.

Part musical theater piece, part audio chapbook and part performance art experiment, AMERICAN AFRIKAN mixes the beat-influenced poetry of bailey with music that blends hip hop, funk, jazz, electronica and more, creating a sound that is at once progressive and challenging yet smooth and listenable.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that an hour-long spoken word album wouldn’t be much fun to listen to; many aren’t. But as Umar Bin Hassan says in the album’s liner notes, “The sounds on this album are just as important as the words.” Through bailey’s voice, through the Igbo nuns on ‘Oracles of Equiano’, through Aimee Bryant’s rendition of ‘Motherless Child’ and through the album’s diverse sonic palette, AMERICAN AFRIKAN succeeds not just as a piece of literature or poetry, but as a cohesive musical journey.

Producer Katrah Quey, perhaps best known for his work with TC wordsmith M.anifest (who shows up to drop a verse on the ‘American Afrikan’ remix), handles a majority of that music, though Hipgnosis and DJ Limbs shine on a couple of early tracks. The beats compliment the words; sometimes fun and funky, sometimes dark and meditative––but always engaging. The album also features appearances by Twin Cities-based African poets, Ibé Kaba and Sankaradjeki; Mankwe Ndosi, singer for Atmosphere; Dubai jazz ensemble Abstrakt Collision; Midwest emcee Idris Goodwin and others.

Though the music might be what draws people into this album, it’s bailey himself that will keep them there. Crafting a masterful narrative from the first track to the last, he explores identity, history, culture and all the places they intertwine in a way that is always meaningful but never preachy; always heart-felt but never melodramatic. As he says himself: “The project attempts to explore what it means to be an Afrikan today, an Afrikan in America, an American Afrikan. What is this journey historically, metaphorically, poetically? However, you can’t answer that question unless you explore what it means to be American, in post-9/11 America. And because America affects and infects us all, it is also about all of us.”

Deemed a true innovator of the spoken word art form, his charismatic yet rhythmic style dances words with sound in and out of synch with verbal play. One of the most prolific voices and talents in the Twin Cities, Bailey’s work has taken him on travels through the U.S., England, South Africa, France, Serbia and more. He has created spoken word work in film, theater, music and radio. Born in Saclepea, Liberia, and now based in the U.S., he is a founder of several foundational entitles in the local and national community including: MN Spoken Word Association, Tru Ruts Endeavors, the Urban Griots Spoken Word Awards, The Spoken Word and Hip Hop Institute at the University of MN. He has appeared in spoken word commercials including ‘Art Connects’, which premiered during the 2008 B.E.T. Hip Hop Awards, and was featured on the MTV, VH1, MTV Europe, CBS, NBC and other networks, in addition to being inducted into the Television Hall of Fame archived at the Modern Museum of Arts in New York. As he moves effortless between radio, film, theater, and producing, his live performances are always a treat.

Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records presents: AMERICAN AFRIKAN
The debut album from spoken word artist E.G. BAILEY
CD RELEASE PARTY: SAT FEB 20TH
@ THE BEDLAM THEATRE  (1501 6th St S., Minneapolis, MN 55454)
Hosted by J. Otis Powell!. Featuring Guante, Mankwe Ndosi, Truthmaze, Sha Cage, See More Perspective, Chantz Erolin, Aimee Bryant, Ibé Kaba, Sankaradjeki, Dameun Strange, members of Junkyard Empire (Chris Cox + Bryan Berry), Kahlil Brewington, DJ Stage One + more.
10pm  18+  $5 advance

Top 10 Hip Hop Moments of 2009 by 612 to 651

Tru Ruts artists included in Justin Schell’s (612to651) highlights from 2009. Highlights include Hip Hop Against Homophobia, Maria Isa Street Politics release party, K’naan at Fine Line, Fong Lee Benefit and more. Link.

Make your best “big cat” face

photo by B Fresh Photography

Guante & Big Cats at Bedlam: Make your best “big cat” face

We checked out the Guante and Big Cats release show for their new album, ” An Unwelcome Guest” over at the Bedlam Theater, and we asked you to give us your best “big cats” face. Here are our Top 10 as well as pics from the show. PHOTOS BY B FRESH PHOTOGRAPHY. To view the slideshow link to original post on City Pages on 13 December 2009.